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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


Dr Roger Rubio Sanchez

Independent Research Fellow

Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


Roger completed his bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology Engineering at the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico City. He then moved to Cambridge and pursued a MRes in Nanotechnology as part of the Nano Centre for Doctoral Training. Working in the group of Lorenzo Di Michele, he obtained a PhD in Physics from the Cavendish Laboratory in 2021, followed by two short postdocs at the Department of Chemistry in Imperial College London and then back to Cambridge at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. Currently, he is a BBSRC Discovery Research Fellow at the Department Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology and Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College.


Roger's research interests follow the exciting goals, applications, and impact of synthetic cell science and engineering biology. Roger applies his expertise to advance the toolkit available to engineer synthetic cells and unlock their promised applications to biomedicine.

By applying the tools of amphiphilic DNA nanotechnology to lipid membranes and their phase behaviour, he aims to engineer synthetic cells with purposefully designed functionality. His bespoke DNA nanostructures can impart function to synthetic-cell lipid membranes so that these cell-like objects exhibit behaviours typically observed in living organisms, which can in turn allow synthetic cells to detect and respond to changes in their surroundings.

Exploiting these tailored and biomimetic DNA-membrane platforms, Roger designs synthetic cells with the ability to coordinate responses similar to immune cells. With his approach to constructing immune-like synthetic cells, Roger plans to unlock new pathways to detect and respond to the presence of pathogens, enabling the application of synthetic-cell biotechnologies for bottom-up immunity in healthcare and bio-medicine.